There is nothing more frightening than being trapped alone with an unstoppable evil force. As a result, many horror filmmakers have mostly set their stories in a small, lonely cabin in the woods, where the protagonists have little chance of escaping their uninvited guests, who range from knife-wielding killers to supernatural beings.
It’s a cheap but effective tool for creating terror and suspense as it keeps the audience on their toes wondering how the heroes will survive. The cabin setting is still an integral part of horror cinema at Peacock’s Sick and M. Night Shyamalans Knock at the hut. And with the latter just hitting theaters, now’s a good time to look back at some of the best cabin horror movies to watch on your next getaway.
7. It comes at night
This underrated horror film follows a family living alone in the woods as a contagious and deadly disease ravages the earth. But everything changes when they welcome a stranger and his family into their home. Although critics praised this A24 film, general audiences didn’t take it too well, probably due to the film’s misleading marketing.
While there is no supernatural monster wreaking havoc in this film, at least none that is visible, the story subverts expectations by turning fear and paranoia into actual monsters. It comes at night is a harrowing and suspenseful story of two families slowly tearing each other apart while an unseen force threatens to infect them all. The film was only made more relevant by the COVID-19 pandemic and the chaos it caused.
6. The cabin in the forest
This meta-horror film satirizes pretty much every classic horror film in the book. The story follows five college students who remain in the titular cabin, only to become the subject of a ritual overseen by a shadowy organization.
The hut in the forest deconstructs both the slasher and torture porn genres while incorporating every scary monster imaginable including zombies, demons, aliens, ghosts and of course mermen. Writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard breathed new life into a then-weary genre and made cabin horror relevant again.
Modern horror master Mike Flanagan delivers a thriller of a different kind in this underrated Netflix gem. silence follows a deaf-mute writer who is being hunted by a crossbow-wielding killer in her remote cabin. Similar to don’t breathe And A quiet placeThis film creates great terror and suspense by exploiting the protagonist’s inability to hear and speak.
The film received massive praise from horror icons such as author Stephen King and The Exorcist Director William Friedkin. For those tired of watching the same old slasher movies, silence is a fresh and frightening film that will satisfy any horror fan looking for something completely different.
After author Paul Sheldon is involved in a car accident during a snowstorm, his “number one fan”, Annie Wilkes, rescues him only to hold him captive and force him to rewrite his next manuscript. Based on the Stephen King novel, misery captures every celebrity’s worst nightmare as Kathy Bates delivers a harrowing performance as Sheldon’s kidnapper.
Director Rob Reiner’s film also keeps audiences in suspense as Sheldon struggles to stay alive in Wilkes’ mountain home while spending most of the film in a bed or wheelchair. It’s a cabin horror film that draws its terror from the harsh fact that the monster isn’t a demon, but a fan who has taken their love for their idol way too far.
3. The witch
Director Robert Eggers became one of horror’s rising stars with this feature of A24. After a Puritan family is banished from their community, they build their own farm in the woods, which they soon learn is inhabited by satanic forces. Unlike the other films on this list, The witch transports audiences back to the colonial era ruled by religious fear but devoid of any comforts.
This attitude only adds to the sense of fear and danger that permeates the film as the family faces little chance of survival in their remote new home. As Thomasin and her family fall prey to the devil and his minions, the true horror of the film comes as they slowly turn against each other in a literal witch hunt. It’s a slow burn, though The witch worth the wait.
2. The evil dead
This classic film from director Sam Raimi started the trend of cabin-based horror films. When five friends are staying in a spooky old house in the woods, they discover a tape translating the Necronomicon and accidentally awaken an ancient Kandarian demon.
Despite its cheap effects and low-budget angst, The bad death makes full use of its limited environment and uses a lot of creative camera work to create a spooky and cramped atmosphere. The cabin itself becomes a living, breathing creature, tormenting Ash and his friends as they are picked off one by one.
1. Evil Death II
Though Ash survived his first night with the Deadites The bad death, in the second film he still finds himself trapped in the forest with the Kandarian demon. A gentle reboot of the original, this sequel (or “Requel”) takes audiences back to the iconic cabin as Ash once again faces the Deadites, this time wielding both a shotgun and a chainsaw hand.
Evil Death II goes beyond the first film in almost every conceivable aspect, especially with gore. This sequel fully embodies the franchise’s B-movie aesthetic, transcending genres to create a terrifying, comedic, and action-packed splatterfest.